It’s only money

I didn’t want us to be that family. You know the one: kids nitpicking over Mom and Dad’s stuff, nickel and dime-ing each other to death. Family ties being re-defined in terms of spreadsheets and dollars and cents.

I didn’t want us to be like that and for the most part we haven’t been since Mom and Dad died in 2013.

But recently something’s changed, something I’m not proud of.

I’ve become what I’ve so despised and judged in others — someone who cares about money, or the lack thereof.

What’s changed? Let me count the ways…

2/29/16 – $622.11 – AutoNation
4/19/16 – $419.46 – Spartan Motors
4/21/16 – $1488.34 – Rincon Truck Center
5/10/16 – $204.98 – Jimmy’s RV Repair
5/10/16 – $94.00 – Amazon
5/16/16 – $750.81 – EPDM Coatings
5/24/16 – $332.29 – Spartan Motors
5/24/16 – $860.70 – Cummins
6/2/16 – $150 – Gary

TOTAL: $4922.69

Add on another grand or so for E & M Auto Repair for Pegasus and to re-fix my car’s air-conditioning, the same A/C that AutoNation “fixed” back in February. A/C is good to have when it’s 90+ degrees.

money raining on man holding umbrellaWhat do the ubiquitous “they” say — when it rains it pours? Consider me drenched already.

So, what to do? Run for cover, find someplace dirt cheap to live, hope that major expenses are behind me. And start making money.

And so yesterday, I asked Gary about his experiences working for Amazon — they hire RVers for the Christmas season. He’s done it for several years. And I navigated to the Workamping for Amazon CamperForce website.

But, even as I clicked my way through the online application, it didn’t feel right. I withdrew my application halfway through the process. Nevertheless, I signed up for a free jobinar on the CamperForce program for June 14, Teri’s birthday, Flag Day.  Dad used to tell Teri that people flew the American Flag just for her.

So, Amazon is out. What’s “in”?

What does my heart say?

– Work on your book
– Continue to teach yoga
– Post more of your t-shirt designs

And so that is what I will do.

In the past, I’ve avoided saying “I can’t afford it.”  As we all know, we can afford to do what we want to do. And, often, as in the case of my yoga teacher training, when we’re on the right track the money magically appears to supports us. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

I don’t want money dictating my life.

Let it pour.

Rainbow bound

rainbow

I’ve been in Deming, New Mexico for two weeks now reconnecting with old friends over margaritas, teaching and practicing yoga, working, cleaning, and writing.

I teach yoga on Wednesdays and Saturdays to a dedicated quartet; designed and launched the LoW-HI RV Ranch website; and spring cleaned.  Roan, the carpet, couch, two chairs, and car got much-needed scrubbings.  My teeth are next in line; a cleaning in Palomas, Mexico costs $35.

And I sold a few items: a too-big-for-my-hands acoustic guitar and a too-big-for-my-coach 45” Visio TV I’ve been hauling around. I still want to sing so a small keyboard may be in my future.  Anyone in the market for a gently-used red Kenmore Progressive canister HEPA Vacuum?

I started Writing the Memoir 101, an online workshop through Writer’s Digest University. I wrote 53,563 words of a very rough first draft during National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo”) in November 2014. But the words are disjointed, the structure nebulous, the theme nonexistent. The assignments and deadlines will force me to focus.

Assignment 1: A narrative summary of the memoir you want to write, including its scope, its structure, its tone, its audience, its theme, why you want to write it, why now, and what your plans are for the book when it’s completed (500 words).

Assignment 2: The Cast of Characters for your story, with a brief description of each one’s relationship to the central character and role in the story (maximum 500 words); a brief scene that reveals your memoir’s setting (500 words).

And I’m waiting to take Pegasus back to the shop — two shops to be exact. Jimmy’s RV Repair on May 10 to address a short list of miscellaneous repairs that shouldn’t be too costly or involved. Then, E & M Auto Repair on May 16 to fix what’s causing the engine to overheat and to repair the cracked exhaust manifolds.

Summer in Deming where daytime temperatures spike into the upper 90s does not appeal. But where to go when you have no place to be? I sent an email to a few full-time RVing friends who would know:

I’m looking for someplace to spend the next several months. The ideal place would be inexpensive, in a rural area but close enough to stores, and in a temperate climate.

Beverley urged me to head up:

No matter where you go, this is supposed to be a hot summer. Going UP in altitude is your best bet, or head for the Pacific Northwest and get on the beach or near the beach.

Ron responded as I knew he would: South Fork, Colorado — 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from Deming. Ron’s been spending summers in South Fork for 17 years.

South Fork it is. Assuming all goes well at the shops, Pegasus et al will be rainbow bound on May 22.

Rainbow Lodge & RV Park in South Fork, CO is located about 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, NM.
Rainbow Lodge & RV Park in South Fork, CO is located about 500 miles north and 4,000 feet up from LoW-HI RV Ranch in Deming, NM.

I should have

Learning how to teach chair yoga seemed logical. But.

I should have listened to my gut when I hesitated, waiting until the last moment to sign up for the three-day, 25-hour workshop.

Should I take the class?

Shouldn’t I take the class?

I should have left the workshop yesterday morning.  I shouldn’t have tried to stick it out for two more days in the hopes of receiving a piece of paper that I didn’t get anyway.

I should have left after asking J. at the front desk if I could drop out and get my money back. Even a partial refund would have been nice.

“For whatever reasons, it’s not working for me,” I told her.

“I understand,” she said. “I’ve been there.”

“I don’t plan on using any of the material,” I continued. I knew this for a fact, despite the adage to “never say never.” I felt it deep.  The energy of Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ did not work for me.

I should have.

Lakshmi told me that I should tell the other students what was going on.  I did.

“I made a mistake,” I told the nine other women, “I shouldn’t have signed up for this workshop. It’s not working for me and I won’t be participating. I am only staying because YogaWorks has a no-refund policy and I’d like to get something for my money.”

“I honor your truth, Liz,” Lakshmi said.  The students made agreeing sounds.

Still, I tried to make it “work.”  I tried to force my body and mind to participate, to sit on the chair, to mimic Lakshmi’s movements, to tap various body parts, to chant, to breathe in through one nostril and out the other. But my whole body resisted, like I was moving against a riptide.  Participating felt like a Big Fat Lie.

Only meditating quietly on the floor in the corner, trying to hold a peaceful space — felt like the Truth.

“I think you’re brave,” K. told me as we washed our hands that last morning.

I thought we were good.

I should have known.

I don’t blame the other women.  Some told Lakshmi that they didn’t think it was fair for me to get a certificate when I did not participate in the class. I agree. It just would have been nice to know this before the last day.

After such a wonderful experience taking YogaWorks 200-hour Teacher Training program (It’s official), it’s discomforting to leave on a flat note.

Perhaps the experience is confirming that my time in southern California has come to an end. I did what I came to do — and then some — and now it’s time to move on.

Southern California is not for me.

I don’t know where is for me so I’ll keep on looking, keep on moving.

“Upward and onward” Mom would say.

It’s official

I completed YogaWorks’ 200-hour Teacher Training this past Sunday, Easter Sunday. Interesting coincidence. The results aren’t official but our teacher Michelle assures us that we all passed. The last day of class was bittersweet as all endings are.

My YogaWorks class. From left to right: Kolesta, Parul, Shanta, Michelle (our teacher), Kate, me, and Courtney. We're wearing t-shirts I designed.
My YogaWorks class. From left to right: Kolesta, Parul, Shanta, Michelle (our teacher), Kate, me, and Courtney. We’re wearing t-shirts I designed.

I’ll stick around the Garden Grove Elks Lodge #1952 a few more weeks. I’ve signed up for Chair Yoga Teacher Training April 8, 9, and 10. Lakshmi Voelker, creator of Get Fit Where You Sit, is teaching the class.

Being able to teach chair yoga will allow me to work with a wider range of students. In thanks for their hospitality to Roan and me, I’m offering a free chair yoga class to Elks Lodge members. I’ll see how many people sign up to sit down.

Apart from teacher training and yoga classes, I’ve spent my time…

  • Attending a fashion show at the Art Institute during Orange County Fashion Week courtesy of cousin Renee. Professor Renee, head of the Fashion Design Department at Fullerton College, helped judge the student show.

    Renee and me on the red carpet during Orange County Fashion Week, 16 March 2016
    Renee and me on the red carpet during Orange County Fashion Week, 16 March 2016.
  • Going to a Singles Dance Party at the Elks Lodge with Renee and her friend, Della. The Lemondrop Club hosted the dance. I had no excuse not to go since it was just across the parking lot. I danced like a fool.
  • Driving up to Los Angeles to meet and thank in person Christina at YogaWorks Santa Monica for her help, and to visit with Sue.
  • Designing a t-shirt to raise money for New Paradigm Multi-Dimensional Transformation™ .
  • Tracking down a missing vehicle registration renewal form for Pegasus. I learned that the Post Office doesn’t forward “official” mail from the Wisconsin DMV.
  • Surveying Battocletti/e family members on the possibility of a reunion this summer.
  • Drafting and revising a yoga-centric resume. Thanks to Cathy, Faun, Jeanette, Sue, and Tom for their excellent feedback.
  • Designing a logo for my new yoga teaching business. Sue gave me the name:  Have Yoga, Will Travel. I like it.  Thanks Sue.
    Have Yoga, Will Travel logo
  • Working on my 2015 tax returns, vacuuming frequently in an unsuccessful attempt to keep dirt at bay, and yes — dumping the tanks every six days. I’ve become quite adept at using the Blue Boy (Taking a dump).
  • Getting a tiny purple peace sign tattoo on my right hand to match the tiny red heart on my left. Thanks Jeff at Dr. Tattoo Studios.

So, the current plan — it may change tomorrow (Call me jello) — is to leave Garden Grove on Monday, April 18th. I’ll head back to Menifee for two weeks and then start the 636-mile drive north to Mt. Shasta.

Mt. Shasta has long been revered by the Native Americans of the area, who regard it as the center of creation. In recent decades it has also attracted New Age followers, who believe the mountain to be a source of mystical power.

I hope things are “mystical” wherever you are dear reader.

Happy Spring!

Broken record

I’m overwhelmed yet again — seems like the story of my life because it is.

broken recordOnce again, I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going next. “So what else is new?” you ask. Nothing. Unfortunately.

Yoga teacher training ends on Sunday, March 27. In-between then and now, I have a take-home exam to complete, a yoga resume to write, an extensive in-class exam to study for, and a teaching practicum to prepare for. And we’re getting graded on it all.

I have to get a score of 70% on both exams to pass and be credentialed as a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with the Yoga Alliance.

I may or may not take Chair Yoga Teacher Training April 8-10. It’s $600. I figure I can pick up a book or DVD for much less money.

But I do know that I’ll be leaving the Garden Grove Elks Lodge in April. The Board recently voted to limit the number of days an RV can stay to 21 days. So I’ll be out of here by April 21, if not sooner.

Unless something else comes up, I’ll likely check out the Jojoba Hills SKP RV Resort, a 55+ cooperative in Aguanga, about 80 miles southeast of Orange County.  I’m not yet eligible to buy into the resort but maybe in the future.

And then perhaps go back to Wilderness Lakes RV Resort in Menifee, where I can stay free for 14 days and regroup.

But then what? Will I drive up through California, Oregon and Washington State, across Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and  Minnesota, back to Wisconsin for the summer?  Sounds good but.

My parents’ house is on the market and I can’t park free in their driveway as I did the past two years.

The Wisconsin State Fair RV Park, the only RV park in Milwaukee and where I stayed briefly in 2013, is a hefty $800 a month during the summer.  And I’d have to make reservations now.

I’d like to see my family in Milwaukee and Minneapolis/St. Paul but also want to find someplace cheap to stay and maybe settle down and teach. That’s why I did teacher training for, isn’t it? To teach?

But will I be a good teacher?

Will I enjoy teaching?

Can I make money teaching?

All this uncertainty makes me better understand why it’s so difficult to live in the present moment.

It’s easier to live in the past — rehashing old memories —  or live in the future — projecting ourselves onto new dreams and “what ifs.”

Living in the Now is hard. And when, like me, your life plan is no plan, there’s no getting around living in the Now.

But after almost three years on the road, living in the Now isn’t getting any easier.

We all deal with uncertainty. No one has it figured out. That’s part of the “fun,” right? It’s all supposed to be about the “journey,” right?

Check with me later.

But at least here and now, the days are sunny and in the 70s, the nights in the 50s — perfect sleeping weather Mom would say.  And the roses are in bloom.